The latest in Latin American politics today:
Brazil evicts miners from indigenous Yanomami territory
BRASILIA – Brazil’s government ousted almost all illegal gold miners from the Yanomami territory, its largest indigenous reservation, and will remove miners from six more reserves this year, the head of the federal police’s new environmental crimes division said.
The conflict over Yanomami territory highlights changing government priorities after former President Jair Bolsonaro deemphasized indigenous rights while focusing instead on business interests.
Police are setting up new Amazon bases and seeking international cooperation on law enforcement in the region, including the development of radio-isotope technology to prove the illegal origin of seized gold, said Humberto Freire, head of the police’s newly created environment and Amazon department.
Mexico’s AMLO blasts U.S. State Department as ‘liars’
MEXICO CITY – Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador forcefully rejected criticism of his government’s record on human rights, describing reports of official abuses in a new U.S. State Department study as “lies.”
The report said there were credible reports in Mexico of unlawful or arbitrary killings by police, military and other officials; forced disappearance by government agents; as well as torture and inhuman treatment by security forces.
Asked about the report at a news conference, Lopez Obrador, known locally my his initials AMLO, dismissed it, saying, “They’re lying,” and said the U.S. “believes it’s the government of the world.”
Venezuelan legislature yanks lawmaker’s immunity
CARACAS – Venezuela’s ruling party-controlled National Assembly unanimously revoked a legislator’s immunity from prosecution on Tuesday, amid a widespread corruption scandal.
Hugbel Roa, a lawmaker and former minister, can now be indicted for “flagrant crimes of corruption,” assembly secretary Rosalba Gil said in a televised session.
The assembly did not give details about the case implicating Roa.
Argentina returning to EU-style regional bloc UNASUR
BUENOS AIRES – Argentine President Alberto Fernandez announced that the South American country would return to the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) regional bloc after leaving it in 2019.
Founded in 2008 as a forum for regional governments to counter U.S. sway in the region, UNASUR became largely defunct in recent years as several of the region’s governments moved to the right.
Ecuador declares emergency in disaster-hit provinces
QUITO – Ecuadorean President Guillermo Lasso declared a state of emergency in 14 provinces worst affected by severe weather and a strong earthquake that shook the country over the weekend, the government said.
The measure adopted on Monday night will be in force for 60 days and will help authorities mobilize economic resources to support the population and repair infrastructure.
The natural disasters confront Lasso as he fends off efforts from lawmakers to initiate impeachment hearings against him over allegations of corruption. (Compiled by Steven Grattan and Brendan O’Boyle; Editing by Leslie Adler)